Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Michigan courts improve virtual services due to COVID-19

March 30, 2020
<p>Michigan State Police Col. Joseph Gasper speaks during a press conference on Feb. 21, 2019 at the G. Mennen Williams Building in Lansing.</p>

Michigan State Police Col. Joseph Gasper speaks during a press conference on Feb. 21, 2019 at the G. Mennen Williams Building in Lansing.

Photo by Anntaninna Biondo | The State News

Courtrooms weren't equipped to handle a pandemic such as COVID-19. In response, Michigan counties, county clerks and courts plan to coordinate best practices, according to a joint statement from the State Court Administrative Office, or SCAO, the Michigan Association of Counties, or MAC, and the Michigan Association of County Clerks.

According to the statement, all three organizations are working together to protect the public, provide essential services and safeguard employees. Leaders from each organization also announced a task force to improve virtual services.

“Working together in response to this crisis can put us on a path to building the courtroom of the future– one that is more transparent, more accessible, and more efficient,” State Court Administrator Tom Boyd said, according the statement.

Essential services provided by courts include functions involving the safety and health of children and vulnerable adults, as well as conducting due process rights of individuals accused of crimes.

“Public employees at the local level play a critical role in responding to this unprecedented crisis,” Stephan Currie, executive director of MAC, said in the statement. “Strengthening our cooperation now will set the stage to improve how we provide services and take advantage of technology to serve more people.”

In terms of Ingham County, the 30th Circuit Court has been holding some emergency hearings, according to Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum.

The 30th Circuit Court Clerk’s office is open for accepting emergency filings from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday with limited staff.

All non-emergency filings can be submitted by email CircuitCourtRecords@ingham.org or by mail at P.O. Box 40771, Lansing MI 48901.

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